Sunday, April 25, 2010


I started out with self portraits because I never had models. I just wanted to play around with photography and light and poses.
Anyways. This is how i did it, and most of you will be very surprised.

I had the 400D and a remote control for it. The RC-1 which you can buy on amazon for about 15-20$. I would put the camera on self-timer. The remote control would allow me to have the camera focus on my face. Nothing complicated. I'd set my camera on the window sill in my room and i'd sit on the floor playing model. I'd obviously test the light before . I'd put a stuffed animal to where i'd be sitting and see how the light hits and switch my aperture and shutter speed. SOOOO That's about it. If you have a tripod it's probably easier, I still dont have one till today. Now that I have the 5D I haven't had a chance to buy a remote control for it, and I probably wont. Just doing photography now and enjoying it much more.
OHHHH and I would sometimes hold the reflector under to give more light and shine.

The window I used for 95% of my self portraits :

Results :

Ok also the photos where I had the white background, i'd put my camera on my book shelf and pose standing on my bed against the white wall, nothing complicated.

Result :

In some photo's i'd use the 430EX speed light, but I sold that :( soooo maybe like 3-4 f my self-portraits were taken with that.

Hope that helped you guys, if you have anymore questions feel free to ask!


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

camera or lens?

Sorry okay so this is something i get asked ALL THE TIME!
To be honest with you , I think it's some what of an obvious answer. THE LENS :) for sure, if you plan on sticking with the same brand for a while. Invest in lenses more then the body. I made a mistake and bought a new body instead of the 85mm f/1.2 and I want to beat myself up for it. Just please. You can do so much more with different lenses then the body.
I feel like there are way more options with the lens then the body.

What are your inputs on this? Lens or body?

I love shallow DOF so for me, the lower the f-stop the better. And I am obsessed with prime lenses. <3

Friday, April 16, 2010

Camilla Akrans

Shot by Camilla Akrans
She's one of my favorite photographers of all time!


Okay, so when I first started photography. I never really researched photographers or models. I knew probably like .2% about photography. SO recently I've started doing my research and studying history of photo and so on.
For my inspiration. Every-time I come up with idea's for photoshoots i make a folder named something like : Inspiration for W test.
Then every-time i find something super cool that fits that style of a photoshoot i put it in the folder. For makeup, hair, styling, model look, lighting, so on. Sometimes preparing for a photoshoot might take longer then you think, i draw ideas out and vision images in my head i want to create as an end result.

Anyways for the past few months HUGE inspirations have been :
Photographers : Tim Walker
Jamie Nelson
Andre Scnheinder
Camila Akrans

Paolo Roversi

Musicians :
City and Colour
Regina Spektor
The Knife
Bright Eyes
The Devil Wears Prada


If you find something you inspired and just go out there and create!

Leave me a comment and tell me what inspires you!!!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Which camera to start off with..

Okay, this is probably the most annoying question I receive daily. Personally, when I first started off photo. I knew NOTHING about it. I had a power-shot camera (canon sd550). It was probably about 2 years ago was when I first got my DSLR.
I never asked anyone for advice, and most people I knew had a Nikon. I was obsessed and used the Nikon d80 at the beginning. But, when I bought my own camera, somehow , i dont remember how, i ended up buying the XTi. I knew nothing about dslr. I bought a book about it and read, and i only knew about the 50mm f/1.8 because my friend had it on his nikon. Anyways. I got the lens before the body. And it would just sit on my table, collecting dust. I saved up my allowance for a few weeks and had b-day money and bought the xti. Anyways, I hate how so many people worry about the camera more then the talent behind it. To be honest with you, I know many people who started out with not the BEST camera's out there and produced better images then they do with their fancy 30k H3D's.

Okay, look at Juergen Teller . He's shooting Marc Jacobs and ID magazine covers, blah blah...He shoots with a Contax g2 and a flash that comes with it. Enough said.

You dont need a fancy 4k camera when you start. Or even when you are really good. It's really mainly about the talent behind the camera and how you work with your mind and light and models. It's about your vision.

I dont think I have a fancy kit. Right now I own a 50mm f/1.8, 35mm f/2 and a 5D mark 1. NOTHING ELSE, except a reflector and my Elan 7a canon. I barely have any camera equipment. You just have to make the best out of it in my case.

Anyways, those were a few things I needed to lay off my chest.

Me and my little 5D <3

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Testing with agencies

Okay. TOO MANY people have asked me how I do it. How it works and how to come about testing. So here are the things I must tell you if you are looking forward to testing or planning on doing it.
First things first. You need to live somewhere where there are modeling agencies. So NYC, LA, London, Milan, Paris, etc.
You should have at least 12-15 very strong pieces to show the agent when you contact them. Or an online website with your work or digital portfolio. Keep a printed book too, because some of the agents will ask you to go into the office and meet them.
Step one : call the agency and ask them to speak to the person who is in charge of new faces.
Step two: tell them who you are why you are calling
Step three : they will most likely ask you to email you them your portfolio. So you do that. If they are interested in your work and want you to test with their models then they will email you back.
step four : I CANT STRESS ENOUGH but this is for YOUR BOOK , YOUR OWN PORT , so that it could get better. Don't fuck up. Dont shoot client work with a test shoot. The agency will be pissed off and fucking mail you a bill for the model.
step five : if you do test. If they like what you came up with, keep testing with the agency. If they really like you, they will help you out with hair/makeup/styling and all that fun stuff.

THE MODELS will give reviews on you to their agents. How they liked you, if you were nice, if you were cool to work with. The more good reviews you get, the better it is for you :)

P.S. When I first started out testing with agencies, I called the smaller once first. I got turned down by those and some agents hated the work I produced. Just remember that it can happen. Don't get too bummed about it. Just keep your chin high and keep trying. One best advice I got about this was "never take NO for an answer and fight for what you want to get". I now work with some of the biggest agencies in nyc and only because I never gave up and believed in myself.


It's really hard for me to explain the way retouching works. There aren't much rules to it..i've met many retouchers before and everyone seems to always have a different way of coming across to how about they will fix the image.
My suggestions to you are , always shoot in RAW because it's always easier to fix balance and all that fun stuff.
The way I retouch is, I open up an image in Lightroom, I fix the white balance and color, sometimes clarity. Then I open it up in Photoshop. I always save my files as PSD instead of TIFF's/ But that's just my personal preference.
Steps I usually do my retouching in.
1. Clean skin from blemishes,little hairs, scars (if there are any), and if there are any dust spots.
2. Liquify if needed. Now dont ever overdo this because the model or agent wont be very too happy about reconstructing the mode's face. Or client work.
3. Fill>50% grey on opacity. Dodge and burn layer :) (now this will take a lot of practice and patience. You dodge the dark spots of the skin and burn the light once. It can take anywhere from 3-4 hours on beauty. It all depends on skin type, how fast you work and how perfect you want to get it to be)
4. Hair. If it's coming into an eye, or rally messy somewhere, then you do it. Hair is a lot of patience and practice. It's probably one of the hardest things to retouch and it's so frustrating. I'm still learning how to do it, and it's a mess. But you need to really have patience for it. I usually work with clone/healing tool on this.
5. Makeup, inhence, clean up blah blah blah. Eyebrows , color pop, smoothen, and all that fun stuff.
6. Play around with color. Shadow/highlights. These I usually paint in.
7. (clothing retouching, if needed to be done. But this I would probably do after skin/hair/makeup)
8. Save a layered file and one for printing.

ALSO not in all cases but most, I sharpen and put a noise filter on top.

Anyways! If you have any questions, just ask me.

Example of my retouch :


Wednesday, April 7, 2010

What to expect when getting into fashion photography....

Okay I thought to start off my blog I would write a bit about what might come in your way if you are interested in fashion photography or photography in general. I'm just to list a few thing's that you should consider giving up (if you are a teen or around my age) and also as just an older person.

List :
-you will fuck up your sleeping pattern a lot with all the retouching. Let's face this, it's a 24/7 job. You will always be on email/phone working with clients or working on your port. Prepare yourself to a lot of long nighters and drink lots of coffee.
-when you first start working on your portfolio, not everyone will be willing to do TF (testing) for free. You are new to this so get ready to throw down some cash if you want to create a banging portfolio. Unless you have family members who are stylist/makeup/hair and all that fun stuff and can hook you up with connections. When I first started testing, sometimes I would style my own shoots and do makeup/hair on my own. But lets face it , you're the photographer and sometimes you are just good at taking images.
-TEST A LOT! WITH MODELS!!! Everyone. It will help you a lot and you will learn how to work with teams and being more organized and it will help your book so you can later on start fishing for clients!
-You will need a lot of dedication to this industry. You probably wont be as social with your friends and if you go to school you will need to learn how to balance the two together. It's going to be hard at the beginning but all the sacrifice later on will pay off if you are very serious about it. If you are a teenager expect to start maturing quicker , because most of the people you will be working with , will be older then you and most likely have worked in the industry for a while (aka model agents).
-You will have to spend money on prints/portfolio. If you dont want that to look shitty, a leather port (which i would recommend) is roughly around 300$ , PLUS you want nice prints of your work when you go to speak to agents. You want to look professional.
-When you first start, you dont need to buy a 4000$ camera. Most of the images you take will all depend on your vision and how you work on the set. Your equipment being more expensive will not make your images look better.
-You're an item, you're your own business, learn how to sell yourself well.
-For inspirations try to learn your photographers, where it all started , who shoots how, take tips and advices from other photographers. Assisting could help a lot in the lighting department. You learn a lot about the business itself by just assisting other photographers.

If you have anymore questions, dont hesitate to ask! I hope this helped you guys!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

YSL Manifesto FW07/08

I know this is an old video. But I seriously haven't seen anything done better as far as these campaigns go.
The directors are two most amazing photographers ever ( Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin ). Seriously probably the best duo out there right now. If you haven't seen their work , do yourself a fav and check it out here : Website
It's just so perfect to mix video with stills and the music is so right for the whole theme of it.
Here is a link to the video : YSL Manifesto

Personally I am not a huge fan of Giselle Bundchen , but in this video she just kills it.

Anyways , just wanted to share this with you guys in case you've never seen this Manifesto.
Also the one for Spring/Summer 2010 is really cool! Check it out here


Introducing myself

Hello out there! My name is Hannah or Hanner or Hanster. I dont know, you choose one and call me it. I am a 18 year old upcoming photographer (or at least I like to say I am) from NYC. HERE to write about all my photo adventures, fashion, little do's and don't in the industry, and tips. Many people have asked me to start a blog and I'm guessing now is the time to do it! ANYWAYS I will be updating on here daily or at least a few times a day and just wanted to say hello to those who will follow me!

P.S. Also will start posting things that inspire me and behind the scenes of my photoshoots and other fun stuff.